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Socorro takes step toward its own utility

SOCORRO — Mayor Ravi Bhasker believes the City of Socorro can sell electricity to residents cheaper than the Socorro Electric Cooperative.

The Socorro City Council has moved a step in that direction with approval of a Request for Proposals from companies interested in providing electricity for the entire area served by the SEC.

“We have been approached by two large companies that said that they are willing to finance our project to acquire the whole grid of Socorro Electric Co-op, not Socorro, not Lemitar, but the whole grid that goes out west, south, north,” Bhasker said. “They are willing to look at that as an investment and allow the City Council to be the board.”

Bhasker said members of the Co-op would have to vote to sell it.

He said the city exploring operating its own electric utility follows a regional trend, mentioning municipalities in Colorado that were taking similar actions to improve their electric rates.

Councilor Michael Olguin Jr. said the city needed to have as many options on the table as possible but that the council and community need more information.

“I want to be comfortable that we’re making the right decision, because whatever decision that we start making now is going to affect us for a long period of time,” Olguin said. ” … I’m all for it if this is going to save the community money. I’m all for it if it is going to entice community development.”

Bhasker said it was getting harder for local businesses to run and do other innovations because of the rates charged by the SEC.

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